Google: 10,000 to tackle extremist online content

Logos of US technology company Google displayed on computer screens. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2017
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Google: 10,000 to tackle extremist online content

LONDON: Google is set to create a team of 10,000 people who will be tasked with removing extremist, violent and predatory content posted on YouTube.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Google-owned YouTube said it would be expanding its team of moderators as she admitted that “bad actors” were “exploiting our openness to mislead, manipulate, harass or even harm.”
In recent weeks YouTube has been widely condemned for the availability of Daesh propaganda on the site and for videos featuring children in abuse situations.
Wojcicki said efforts to tackle extremism on the site had already seen ‘tremendous progress.”
“In the last year, we took actions to protect our community against violent or extremist content, testing new systems to combat emerging and evolving threats. We tightened our policies on what content can appear on our platform, or earn revenue for creators. We increased our enforcement teams,” the CEO wrote on her company blog.
Over the past six months, more than 150,000 videos of violent extremism have been removed, she added. The CEO said machine learning is helping human reviewers remove nearly five times as many videos than they were previously.
“Now, we are applying the lessons we’ve learned from our work fighting violent extremism content over the last year in order to tackle other problematic content. Our goal is to make it harder for policy-violating content to surface or remain on YouTube,” Wojcicki wrote.
YouTube has faced a backlash over the distribution and monetization of inappropriate content –something that Wojcicki acknowledged by saying that it had been “a difficult year.”
She said the company would now be taking a new approach to advertising, and would be “significantly ramping up” its team of advert reviewers to ensure adverts only run where they should.
 


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.